Pardon our dust while we update this corner of the website.

Another Way of Telling: Women Photographers from the Collection
April 8, 2017 - July 16, 2017
Another Way of Telling: Women Photographers from the Collection
April 8, 2017 - July 16, 2017
See the myriad ways women have used the camera to capture lived experience.

In our current season of civil protest in which women are at the forefront, asserting their voices, it seems appropriate and timely to explore work by several generations of women photographers. On view in this exhibition are exceptional and rare photographs spanning the history of the medium, including examples by pioneers Diane Arbus, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Anne Brigman and contemporary artists Kelli Connell, Ann Parker, and Elaine Stocki.

In this diverse selection of pictures, women explore ideas about identity in and out of the studio, interrogate female roles in the domestic sphere, and disrupt perceptions of the world through street photography. By including over a dozen new acquisitions, this exhibition also demonstrates our ongoing efforts to more fully represent women artists in the collection and amplify their voices.

Women Photographers in Focus

The Valley

The Valley by Kelli Connell

This photograph appears to show an intimate encounter between two women. In fact, Kelli Connell has depicted the same model twice, digitally combining several photographs into one image. For her decade-long project Double Life, she meticulously studied portrait techniques of documentary photography, then brought that sensibility into her own imagined scenes.

Untitled (Harlem Ambulance)

Untitled (Harlem Ambulance) by Lucy Ashjian

Lucy Ashjian took this photograph shortly after joining the New York Photo League, a cooperative that championed socially conscious photography and film. She was an active member of the League’s Features Group, which collaboratively produced documentary photo-essays. Ashjian likely made this image for the project Harlem Document, a chronicle of life in Harlem during the Great Depression.

The Pine Sprite

The Pine Sprite by Anne Brigman

Anne Brigman’s fascination with paganism and mythology inspired her to create compositions in which female figures commune with the natural world. She described them as, “partially realized fancies . . . where gnomes and elves and spirits of the trees reveal themselves.” She and her friends routinely camped in the High Sierras with the intention of experiencing and capturing a mystical union with nature.


William by Elaine Stocki

Like many of Stocki’s photographs, this study evokes ideas about race and class. Yet, Stocki does not want her depictions to be viewed as traditional documentaries. Instead, she positions her subjects in a “farcical situation,” a type of happening or performance: “I like working with groups of people—groups of bodies—because there is an unexpected element to it.”

Window, Wisconsin

Window, Wisconsin by Ruth Thorne-Thomsen

Ruth Thorne-Thomsen crafts imagery that alludes to history, mythology, and dream states. Using a pinhole camera (a light-proofed box with a hole on one side), she photographs miniature props and cutouts within real landscapes. She then makes contact prints in warm sepia tones. Her process yields images that resemble early photographs but the objects’ scale and disjointed relationships are a nod to Surrealism.


Versailles by Hazel Kingsbury Strand

Long before she met and married photographer Paul Strand, Hazel Kingsbury was a talented and adventurous photographer in her own right. After training as a fashion photographer, Kingsbury turned to documentary work. In 1945 she signed on as a staff photographer for the Red Cross. While in France, she documented relief efforts at the end of World War II and its aftermath.

Alfred Stieglitz, Hands, Variant IV

Alfred Stieglitz, Hands, Variant IV by Dorothy Norman

A remarkable photographer, Dorothy Norman was committed to advancing art and political action. She tackled many subjects but is best-known for her ongoing portrait of Alfred Stieglitz and his last gallery, An American Place. She also collected photography at a time when few people were. Her gift of more than 1,500 photographs to the Museum comprises a large sum of her work but also a core group of exceptional pictures by other women.


Amanda Bock, The Lynne and Harold Honickman Assistant Curator of Photographs


Julien Levy Gallery, first floor, Perelman Building